The Supreme Court rejected Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s application on Tuesday that sought permission to live-stream the hearing of his review petitions.

A 10-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial issued the short order, with a 6-4 split in the bench. 

The court had reserved its ruling on the application on 18 March seeking permission to live-stream the hearing of review petitions in Justice Isa’s case against the SC’s short order of June 19, 2020.

“For reasons to be recorded later, this application is dismissed. However, the right of the people to have access to information in matters of public importance under Article 19-A of the Constitution is recognised, the details and modalities of which are to be decided by the full court on the administrative side,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial said while reading out the court order.

In the dissenting note, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah cited article 19-A of the constitution to allow Justice Isa’s hearting to be live-streamed as they deemed the hearing of his petition as a matter of public importance. Article 19-A of the Constitution creates an obligation on state institutions to take the necessary measures to ensure the realisation of the fundamental rights of citizens to have access to information in matters of public importance.

“Cases under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, including review petitions and other matters arising therein, are matters of public importance, and the public has a right to know and see how proceedings in these cases are conducted and concluded by the Court. We, therefore, hold that live streaming (audio and video) of court hearings of these cases should be made available for the information of the public through a link on the official website of this court,” they said.

Justice Isa’s wife, Sarina Isa, spoke against the lack of action against Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudry and another government officeholder. “Yousuf Raza Gilani and others were sentenced for contempt of court but the registrar did not fix the contempt case against Chaudhry for hearing,” she said.

Justice Isa also questioned why the contempt petitions were not fixed for hearing. “It is a matter of the court’s honour,” he said. Sarina Isa had filed an application in the apex court for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Chaudhry over what she termed a “highly offensive” tweet.


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